I grew up in a tiny West-Texas town named Andrews. It sprang up around the oil fields in the 20s and 30s. This is a typical road out there… straight as an arrow and almost nothing to obstruct your view.
My Dad worked in the oil field most of his adult years, until “retiring” for the last season of his life out here with us in Tennessee. Of all the equipment needed for work in the oil field, none was more important than a pickup, and my Dad always drove one. It was in one of those pickups, on one of those West-Texas roads that he taught me to drive, and I think I was only 14 or 15 the first time he displayed the courage to put me behind the wheel
As I suppose we are all prone to do, my first attempt at driving was a classic example of overcorrecting. Every time that old truck would start to veer to the right or left, I’d jerk the wheel back in the other direction making for something less like a road trip, and more like an amusement park ride.
There wasn’t a lot of instruction during that session, but what I got lasted a lifetime. Dad said ”you’re looking at the road just in front of the truck. Focus your eyes at the end of the road… as far as you can see”. The truck began to straighten out a little.
Turns out this instruction was as good for life as it was for driving.
Of course, we see through a glass darkly, and there are many times on our journeys when all we know to do… all we can do, is the thing that’s right in front of us. God grows our faith by giving us grace to trust him for what’s beyond as we try to obediently walk just one step at a time.
But then there are other times when this sort of living can begin to feel like an amusement park ride. We take a step and get jerked back in to the other lane leaving us to wonder if we’re even moving in the right direction.
Maybe that is the day, the week, the season when we try to remind ourselves of what is at the end for those who are called according to His purpose. No death, no tears, no mourning, crying or sickness or pain. No economic meltdowns, high unemployment rates, terrorism, substance abuse, sex trafficking or corruption. But a new heaven and a new earth, where God Himself will be with us and He will dwell among us. (Rev. 21). Keeping a focus toward the eternal can often help the temporal to straighten out a little.
Sometimes the most encouraging, hopeful thing you can do is to look all the way to the end… as far as you can see.